Candidates announce plan for swimming beach at Tempe Town Lake

Tempe residents shed their shoes to enjoy Tempe Town Lake last February. Candidate for mayor Michael Monti is proposing a new swimming area, adding another activity for residents to participate in while visiting the lake. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

Tempe mayoral candidate Michael Monti and City Council hopeful Dick Foreman announced a plan Tuesday to build a swimming beach at Tempe Town Lake — an idea they will attempt to implement if elected.

Monti and Foreman presented the plan at a joint-press conference outside the Tempe Center for the Arts next to the lake.

Monti said they want to expand swimming in the lake beyond a few events hosted each year such as Ironman Arizona.

“What the beach offers is something tangible that every Tempe resident can enjoy without having to come for a staged event,” Monti said.

Foreman said the goal is to create a beach for year-round swimming, an activity that will also be a moneymaker for Tempe.

The project they hope to develop would include sectioning off a small area of water from the lake and surrounding it with a sand bar, similar to the design of a resort near the ocean, Foreman said.

Neither candidate gave a cost estimate for the project or specified where the beach would be built. They are planning to hold a public project focus group meeting on Dec. 20 to discuss further action.

“(The plan) does need further refinement but we believe it can be done,” Foreman said.

Monti said the project would be on a small scale until funds for the beach allowed the city to expand it. He said the project would be funded primarily through user, vendor and concession fees to reduce taxpayer burdens, but Monti did not specify which vendors or concessions.

Rudy Campbell, who served as the city’s mayor in the 1960s, also attended the event and voiced his support for Monti’s plan.

Campbell said he recalled when ASU students first came to him with an idea to build Tempe Town Lake and would like to see the area around the lake continue to grow.

The lake opened in 1999 after the idea was conceptualized in 1966.

“I think we have a person in (Monti) that has the foresight, talents and the determination to make this lake even bigger and more important to this area than it has been in the past,” Campbell said.

Foreman said the project would be centered on honoring Tempe’s history while building toward its future.

“It’s out there under the water,” Foreman said of the city’s history. “We want to bring it back up to the shore.”

 

Reach the reporter at brennan.j.smith@asu.edu
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